What am I working on Wednesday is a new bi-monthly meme of snippets and excerpts that should keep you updated on my current projects. To listen to a recording, please click on the application below.
Today: Where the Wind Settles, a high concept lgbt YA novel
Excerpt of Chapter 17:
Ingrid stumbled out of the library and ran a few blocks, stopping only when her lungs absolutely refused to carry her any further. She hugged the long pole of a street-lamp to catch her breath but the metal alloy smelled vile and she pulled away, leaning against the side of a building and pushing her fingers against the painful stitch in side. At the far end of the street and across the stretch of park, she could already see the lake, glittering in the rare November sun. It made Ingrid look up at the sky; there were clouds but of a far less aggressive color than those which had dominated the it for most of October. She remembered running along that same street in the pouring rain just two weeks ago, except her lungs had held out far longer that time. Maybe it was because iron bands hadn’t kept her from breathing because she was just so embarrassed wanted to die.
Even when she could walk again, she couldn’t quite believe she had done that, planting one foot in front of the other and shaking her head. What had come over her in those few seconds? Her fingers had curled around her pen, scratched a few quick words on the page and she had held it tightly against the underside of the book at the bottom of her little stack before lifting it onto Chinook’s desk.
Maybe it had floated to the ground? Stuck to someone’s shoe? Someone who’d take it far, far outside the building? It wasn’t very likely.
Only once, Ingrid slammed her open palm against her forehead and an elderly woman next to her on the pavement jumped, and then muttered about the youth of today. Ingrid ignored her, not even trying to regain her fickle cloak of invisibility in this mood. There was no point when her face wanted to scowl and blush and scream.
When she pushed her hands into the pockets of her jeans, she came upon the few coins from the night before and she ducked into a coffee shop to buy some hot chocolate even though she knew better. She paid up in full, though, tugged her threadbare gloves out of the side compartment of her backpack and then reached for the paper cup. Even through the wool, it warmed her hands and it felt much nicer, walking down towards lakefront park like this, just as though she was one of any number of young interns, yearning for a few lungfuls of fresh air during their lunch-break. She was too young, of course, but who could tell these days – some of the girls in her grade used so much make-up and artificial tan, they could pass for almost thirty and whenever Ingrid remembered the way Chinook had looked that day Ingrid had woken up on her sofa to watch her bite her finger-tips in front of her screen, she’d thought that in the right light, Chinook could easily pass for Ingrid’s age. And there they were again: Chinook thoughts. It wasn’t he first time, that Ingrid wondered whether it was this quality of hers, that she was named for: the ability to blow into someone’s mind like the wind, melting away all the icy layers you piled up for protection.
Ingrid felt a little nauseated with embarrassment – or possibly the hot chocolate – and she slowed her steps. She was almost at Buckingham fountain now – dry of course, in winter. She touched her gloved fingers to the curved fence and looked out over the strange little world ahead: all the pipes, discoloured from water and chemicals, the dry concrete bed beneath. It always reminded her of winter, of Christmas shopping with her mother holding her hand and dragging her behind, of the last time they’d been here, a heavy shawl wrapped around her mother’s bald head as she wanted one last look over the lake, even though it was grey with heavy clouds that promised snow. Ingrid shivered. With a little plop, the lid of her paper cup came loose under the pressure of her hand.
She had the sudden urge to return to the library, to apologize — or something, to find some way to feel close to Chinook again instead of being so far away. Gently, she pressed the lid back onto the fragile cup and then almost dropped it.
“I always liked the sea horses,” a voice said beside her, warm and deep and heavily accented.
Ingrid spun around to find Pablo, smiling down at her. His hair looked more blown about than usually, and he was carrying his guitar in a case on his back. For a moment, Ingrid was so stunned, she lost control of her mouth, opening and closing it ineffectually. She took a gulp of hot chocolate to buy time, to get over the shock.
“I…” she shook her head, “I think they are creepy,” she whispered, staring at those bottomless, fishlike mouths on a horse’s head that looked like they could clamp over someone’s face and suck the light out of them. That’s what she had thought when she’d been there with her dying mother, that it might have been the sea horses for all she knew. Surely, with her bald head and sunken, hollow face, that’s what it looked like when you had the light sucked out of you by vicious sea monsters.